Monday, 30 September 2013

Cool VW Golf SUV/wagon for overseas only.

Add this to the growing list of interesting Volkswagens we can't buy here: Golf Sportsvan.

Don't be put off by "van" in the name. It's a four-door, elongated hatchback along the lines of the Ford Escape SUV, functionally if not stylistically.

The Sportsvan is at the Frankfurt auto show now, and goes on sale overseas the middle of next year, replacing a model called Golf Plus, which sells for the equivalent of about $26,000, depending on equipment and taxes. .

In the U.S., it might overlap the car sold here as the Jetta SportWagen. A new version of that car -- already on sale elsewhere -- is due in the U.S. the first half of 2015. The utility-like Sportswagon and what will be knownhere as the Jetta SportWagen really could bump heads if the SportWagen offers all-wheel drive here as it does elsewhere.

VW's not giving details about the U.S. version of SportWagen.

VW says the Sportsvan name on the Frankfurt car should work fine because, VW says, Europe assigns no "dork factor" to the term "van."

Even so, Ford sells the Euro version of Escape, called Kuga, as an SUV overseas rather than marketing it as any kind of van. Must work; Ford has said it's boosting Kuga production to meet increasing demand -- notable at a time when sales there are depressed.

VW says the Sportsvan will appeal because of its array of new features, such as an electronic differential lock for the all-wheel drive, blind-spot warning, space-saving electronic parking brake, optional heated steering wheel -- first time on any Golf model -- and larger interior highlighted by a rear seat that has a fore/aft travel of 7.1 inches.

Engines include four gasoline powerplants, rated from 84 hp to 147 hp, and two diesels, 108 hp and 147 hp.

The smaller of the two diesels is rated 65.6 mpg in European testing, which would -- very roughly -- translate to a U.S. rating around 47 mpg in combined city/highway driving.


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